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Pittsburgh has done an incredible job of putting all the pieces together to become an attractive tech hub. We regularly welcome new businesses to the region and see significant numbers of innovative startups emerging. For instance, look at GrowJo’s 2021 Pittsburgh Startups to Watch. The top 10 companies are all tech firms.
In January, the state awarded $1 million to BTVC Fund I LP to advance Pittsburgh’s tech startups. Recently, Dice.com released a report citing Pittsburgh as the leading region with the highest percent increase in tech salaries from 2020 to 2021.
Pittsburgh is fortunate to have multiple economic development organizations expending significant resources to attract techs to the region and specific neighborhoods.
The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance is the nonprofit economic development marketing group representing the 10-county Pittsburgh region in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Through their work, the alliance has identified six important, thriving Pittsburgh industries: AI, cybersecurity, energy, life science and health, manufacturing and logistics, and robotics.
According to the alliance, “fast-growing, deep-tech and research-driven companies are planting roots in Pittsburgh. Our doors open to many companies, including startups, nonprofits, private companies, and public companies trading on the NYSE.” The alliance is working every day to attract more companies to the region.
One factor making Pittsburgh attractive and competitive to many tech-focused businesses is its availability of reliable fiber connections and advanced network capacity. DQE Communications’ network alone includes tens of thousands of fiber miles, serving thousands of the region’s commercial addresses.
Pittsburgh also has its own innovation district. The Pittsburgh Innovation District, located in Oakland, is a neighborhood-based initiative to develop and promote Oakland’s critical mass of talent, entrepreneurship resources, urban amenities and research strengths to attract new talent, startups and innovation companies to Pittsburgh.
According to InnovatePGH’s Executive Director, Sean Luther, “The Pittsburgh Innovation District is unique mainly due to its globally significant research institutions. Our two universities, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh have overlapping campuses within less than one square mile. Even more critically, they have complementary (not competitive) strengths, and they share a truly collaborative spirit of innovation. The district is also home to UPMC, the largest academic medical system in the country and the only such center with an integrated insurance provider.”
InnovatePGH was a direct result of a 2017 report of the Brookings Institution, “Capturing the next economy: Pittsburgh’s rise as a global innovation city.” InnovatePGH’s strategy is paying off, as evidenced by their recent announcement of the neuroscience and robotics company Neuraville signing a multi-year lease on Craig Street.
The research institutions, medical centers and tech startups all rely heavily upon fast, secure and reliable fiber networks, combined with excellent bandwidth.
In addition to the regional and district-wide organizations working to attract tech investments, small, community-based organizations are working to highlight the benefits of their neighborhoods. The Strip District and Lawrenceville have been particularly thriving in recent years. Three years ago, Next Pittsburgh identified the attraction to the Strip in an online article. Lawrenceville’s Tech Center offers 14 acres of high-tech, high-efficiency flex space and is home to numerous innovative businesses. The North Side can also boast success in attracting their share of tech investment with Astrobotic contracting payloads for lunar missions and NovaPlace landing coworking hotspot Alloy 26, community collaboration spot CoLAb18, and Databank, among many others
There are great opportunities to incentivize tech businesses to locate in smaller communities on the neighborhood level. One surefire method encourages building owners to undertake fiber construction in their commercial properties. Properties offering fiber-optic network solutions have a significant competitive advantage when attracting new business, particularly tech companies.
When attracting tech companies, it is essential to recognize that trends driving demand for fiber optic networks in commercial buildings are data-intensive and require networks with high capacity, high bandwidth options, and superior dependability. Encouraging property owners to invest on the front end will make business attraction easier for property owners and community groups.
The future of new tech and innovation in Pittsburgh is undoubtedly exciting. While our city has been working hard to be the right place for tech business growth for many years, the recent speed and mind-blowing innovations coming from local businesses make us wonder if we are just at the precipice of what’s to come.
Contact us today to learn more about joining our robust, ever-expanding fiber-optic network.